The story behind ''Whole Wide World''
In 1974, a British art-school student named Eric Goulden, enthralled by the emerging sound of punk rock, wrote a sweet, raucous little ditty called ''Whole Wide World.'' Released under the name Wreckless Eric, that track, and his self-titled debut, made him something of a cult figure in his homeland. Now, 30 years later, it's being splashed across American multiplexes playing a pivotal role in the onscreen courtship between Harold, Will Ferrell's IRS auditor, and Ana, Maggie Gyllenhaal's anarchic baker, in the current box office hit Stranger Than Fiction.
''Today it's sort of forgotten,'' Fiction director Marc Forster says of the tune, ''but I chose it because it perfectly captures the emotion of that scene. When Harold sings it for Ana, you really feel his longing and you know why he touches her heart.''
Goulden, who may step further into the spotlight if a rumored Wreckless Eric tribute album materializes, is thrilled. ''I've had songs in some bad films before,'' he says. ''This is the first time it's been in anything worthwhile, so I'm just so proud of it.''